Linux on ARM
In recent weeks I have shown how Ubuntu 12.04 is ARM-ing up for better performance on the ARMv7 architecture by enabling hard-float builds and how the TI OMAP4 support has come together resulting in significant performance gains. Nevertheless, how is modern ARM hardware now comparing to the low-end Intel x86 competition? In this article are some results from Ubuntu 12.04 comparing the ARM performance to some Intel Core, Pentium, and Atom hardware.
Earlier this month, I wrote an article about PCoIP Technology which shows an Android application (VMWare View) running on an OMAP4 Tablet displaying a Windows 7 desktop. This remote desktop technology relies on a powerful server to do the processing and thin clients (in that case Tablets) to display the desktop. Since only pixels are transferred any OS (supported by the server) could be displayed in the thin client.
For quite some time, Java Standard Edition releases have included both client and server bytecode compilers (referred to as c1 and c2 respectively), whereas Java SE-Embedded binaries only contained the client c1 compiler. The rationale for excluding c2 stems from the fact that (1) eliminating optional components saves space, where in the embedded world, space is at a premium, and (2) embedded platforms were not given serious consideration for handling server-like workloads.
Several operating systems will be able to run on the Raspberry Pi boards. However, the Raspberry Foundation had announced that they were working with Red Hat to deliver a Fedora release optimized for the board and Broadcom BCM2835 processor (ARMv6 + hard-float support).
The recently announced KDE Spark Tablet has an ARM Mali 400 as its graphics processor, which right now is backed by a closed-source user-space driver but that's changing thanks to the Lima driver that's providing a reverse-engineered open-source ARM Mali driver. Here's a demo of the Lima driver's Limare stack running on the KDE Spark Tablet hardware.
The Spark tablet is a 7 inch tablet that will ship with Linux and the KDE Plasma Active user interface. It’s expected to ship in May for about $265, and it should go up for pre-order soon. KDE developer Aaron Seigo has posted a first video of Plasma Active running on the tablet. It seems to respond well to touch, and the animated effects look pretty smooth — although there appears to be a little lag in some activities.
The initial code push has taken place for the Lima Project, which is the open-source ARM Mali graphics driver that's under development. The Lima stack development is sponsored by Codethink and its lead developer is veteran X.Org developer Luc Verhaegen. Phoronix was the first to break the news on the project last month.
As we are all aware, Android relies on the Linux kernel for its core services and to act as an abstraction layer between hardware drivers and the rest of the software stack. However, some of us aren’t content until we have a full Gnome interface and a cache of staple apps suck as Firefox, Thunderbird, and Open Office at our disposal. We’ve covered a couple of ways to load the popular Ubuntu in the past. However neither way was quite as hands-off as some users would like.
Energy Micro and Pengutronix today announced that they will be demonstrating µClinux for the ARM Cortex-M3. This embedded Linux will be running on the energy friendly EFM32 Gecko range of microcontrollers at this year's Embedded World Show.
Three security vulnerabilities that were discovered in the Linux kernel for OMAP4 packages by various developers, this time affecting the Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal) operating system, were announced today by Canonical.
Ever since the news broke last weekend that a fully open tablet is on the way, the excitement has been tangible in the Linux community. I wrote about the tablet on Monday, but since then KDE developer Aaron Seigo has revealed a number of new details. There's plenty of good news to share, including the fact that you can preorder one as early as next week; the main bad news as far as I can see is that you'll have to wait until May to actually get the thing.
Last week I delivered benchmarks showing how Ubuntu 12.04 is ARM-ing up for better performance with ARM-based hardware and detailed some of the plans Canonical has for this architecture going forward.
The Spark is a 7 inch tablet with an open source Linux-based operating system and an open platform for apps, eBooks, and other digital content. One of the developers of the Spark project introduced the tablet last week, and now he’s posted a Q&A with far more details – including launch details.
Open-source software and Linux, thanks to Android, is well represented on tablets. But, if you didn’t want to deal with proprietary firmware and software, you were out of luck… until now. Aaron Seigo, one of the KDE’s lead developers, and his team are just about ready to roll-out the first tablet based entirely on Linux and free software: The Spark.
Many were talking yesterday about why the forthcoming $25/$35 Raspberry Pi system won't ship in kit form, but of more interest to Phoronix readers out of that blog post would be the details concerning their Linux graphics driver stack and what they will be supporting.